Thursday, February 26, 2009

"The Oprah Show / part 2/ from middle class to homeless"

The Oprah Show visits Lisa Ling's hometown of Sacramento. Ling is blown away at what's going on in her hometown. There are about 1,200 people living in the "tent city" that Ling visits. Tent cities are popping up all over America. (I know of at least one in Baltimore but have never seen it with my own eyes, just photos) Some examples of cities with "tent cities" are Nashville, Seattle, and Tampa. These are a result of the homeless shelters being filled to capacity.

Personally, I was never able to get into a homeless shelter. In 95 for example, I tried to get into the Hannah More homeless shelter in Reisterstown, MD. The receptionist told me there were no beds. What I didn't know until about 04, is that my biological grandmother on my mother's side, (who I only met once and is deceased now) had a prominent role in keeping the center going for many many years. This was before it became a homeless shelter.

The question was presented, (on this show) where the homeless go when they can't get into a shelter?

their car
with friends
with family
tent cities
the street

Ling interviews Tammy and her husband at the Sac. tent city where she is visiting. Tammy says she had an apt, a car but no savings. Tammy is actively seeking work. She's trained as a cashier but can't even get cashier work.

Ling-"What do you miss most since falling homeless?"
Tammy-"A bathroom. I miss doing my makeup, I miss looking like a girl. I feel embarrassed by my appearance" (These are always paraphrases, I do the best I can to remember what the guests said, but I don't tape record I just take written notes when I watch t.v.)

Jim-(a widower) "It's like learning how to live all over again" Jim has to walk 3 miles just to buy a bottle of water.

Oprah says she is shocked that people are living this way. Many cities are considering "legalizing" tent cities because currently they are illegal.


Personally, I've had 79 addresses. Nearly every time I have to leave stuff behind. There are many reasons why that is. That subject is addressed in this show.

One of the workers who is assigned to cleaning out the foreclosed homes wondered aloud: "What would I leave behind if this happend to me?" He held up a teddy bear. He said: "I wonder if this bear was some kid's best friend?"

Why are all of these belongings from these homes going to landfills as opposed to charities? The charities can't keep up. The homes are closing so fast the charities literally have no room, no ability to keep up with the volume of stuff.


598,000 Americans lost their jobs in Jan. 2009. Rosley, 32, was earning 70,000 a year. Now she has to go to the very food bank that she used to donate to. R. is "overqualified" for everything she sees listed at the job resource center. R.'s partner is working "round the clock." One of the positions she applied for yesterday had over 400 applicants.


(A couple in their late 50's) Had a 6 figure income. When they lost their house they had to move into their office. (I can't recall what his position was) They have to go to the gym to shower. I assume M. has a membership because he actually works out when he's there.

M-"Don't hurt yourself just because you lost your house. It's just a material thing." (I assume he means don't commit suicide)

Oprah-"Do you find that you don't need as much stuff as you thought you did?"



They're using a service that goes something to the effect of


This is nothing new to me. I've attempted to use the St. Ambrose Homesharing program in Baltimore, but I was unable to find a match. Currently the homeowners want at least 400 a month in rent which I currently can't afford.

This couple have a large house and are renting to , I think, 2 girls. They've become like one big happy family. The couple are considering renting another room to. Whatever they have to do so they don't lose their house.

I don't recall Ling interviewing any singles. Homelessness is even tougher when you face it alone, in my experience.

"Oprah Show/From middle class to homeless" (part 1 installment)

O.and Lisa Ling Aired An educational and compassionate piece on persons who were once well to do but are now homeless and/or in abject poverty largely due to the rrecession

Ling interviewed families living in homeless shelters and spent the day with them to see what their day to day lives are like. She starts out by interviewing a single mother with 3 kids. Her one son will turn 11 tomorrow. last year he asked for a "Nintendo Wi" for his birthday. Ling asked him what he wants this year?

"Well, since we don't have rent to pay, I'd like a cake and a lot of love

 OMG, this is amazing isn't it? !

Ling was also deeply moved by his response. Ling asked his sister if she likes the shelter?

"No. I can't sleep at night because the employees are playing radios and there is no privacy. We don't know if the other residents have weapons or not"

"You have a tremendous gift"

Last week I had a random conversation with a stranger at the public library. Turns out he's a retired voice teacher. Taught voice for 28 years to elementary kids in the county public schools. I told him I'm a singer and that I'd love for us to get together and have him assess my singing voice.

We met up at a music store today in one of the piano rooms (he's a pianist also) and I sang 5 songs for him. We even did a duet and some harmonies. He says my voice is beautiful, and I have a tremendous gift. He can't believe I haven't had any private voice training and encourages me to work with a vocal teacher.

He said that he has a gig in a "very upscale establishment" and that he'd love for me to be a guest performer with him! "You're voice is perfect for this venue." he said.

Here are the songs I performed for him today:

BORN AGAIN (We sang this as a male/female duet)
THE ROSE (Bette Midler)

It was wonderful to get this kind of feedback from a professional!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Part 2/Bingo

I offer the air freshner to Lewis. "I know you're mad at me because you think I chated, so do you want my air freshener?"

Lewis_"I'm not mad at you" (he's smiling big) I don't need the gift"

"You can't trade cards though, right Brad?"

Brad-"That's right, it's not fair to everybody else"

I feel a tad bit of guilt which is normally not something I struggle with.

Ellen_"I've never heard such a ridiculous rule in my life"

Elana-"We can always research the official rules on the internet"

Linda_"This place doesn't do things by official rules!"

Ellen-"You never know what's gonna happen around this place!"

Elana-"You got that right. You could write a book!"

"How did I get here?/What am I doing here?!"

The events and characters of 2/20/09


I entered at 5 p.m. They're playing Bingo. I don't think I've played that since I was 10.

Brad-"Wanna play Elana?"


They give ma a playing card but no chips. I see people with plastic playing pieces with letters on them. Others have wooden round chips. Linda has made up 4 words with the plastic pieces on the table adjacent to her card. I'm confused!

E-"I don't remember how to play" I asked why Linda has words set up next to her card.

Brad-"Some people just do that" he announced.

E-"How many chips do I need?"

Brad-"You'll have to use these plastic chips with letters on them. There are no more wooden chips"

"G57" he repeats very loudly.

Linda "Did you say B37?"
Tyesha-"What did he say?"

"B24" Brad says again

Max-"Did you say D-44?"

Brad "NO I SAID B24!"

This goes on for quite a while. I win the 3rd round.

Elana-"What is the prize?"

Brad-"The prizes are on the table, you can pick one.

I walk over to the table and these are the prizes I see that are left. (Unfortunately someone has already "won" the toilet paper, something I've needed for a while)

The prizes are

air freshener
cans of soda
shaving cream

storage containers

I pick the air freshener. Maybe it's wishful thinking. The room stinks of cat and smells as if it hasn't been thoroughly cleaned in years.

We go for another round. I don't want my same card so I ask Tyesha if she'd like to trade cards. "Yes" she said.



lewis-"Did you say H3?" To nobody in particular Lewis goes on to say: "You're not allowed to trade cards that's cheating." What was the #?"

E-"I-9" I said.

Brad "N34"

Lewis-"The rules are you have to keep your same card."

Alice-"I think the last call was O44"

This goes on for a while. I win again. I go over to the prize table and put my hands on the cookies planning to give them to Lewis when a hand slams down on top of mine which is on the cookies

Maggie-"Don't you dare!" Maggie yelled at me "Day mines cookies!"

Elana-"I'M SORRY!"

I pick the toothpaste and wonder where in my apt I should hide it so the maintenance man doesn't find it and steal it.

end part 1

Thursday, February 19, 2009

"A Hidden America/Children of the Mountains" (abc)

Boy that was moving. It wasn't my first exposure to poverty in the mountains of Appalachia. I tuned in late but saw about 1/2 hour of it. I know all about having to let your dental care go because you either don't have health insurance or your health insurance doesn't cover dental. Did you see these people's mouths? Many adults have no teeth and most of the kids have rotten teeth.

Apparently there is a man who took his own money to buy a truck and turn it into a mobile dental clinic. Now that the ceo of pepsi has seen the special they are donating another dental truck to this man so he can do even more work. The rotten teeth and missing teeth are called: "Mountain Dew mouth" since most people are addicted to this particular soda. It's very high in acid, sugar and caffeine.

Personally I haven't been to a dentist in 6 years, and have advanced periodontitis. That's where my gums are so sick that many of my teeth are loose. I won't go to the low income clinic at u of m hospital because I'm afraid to drive to that neighborhood.

You can probably access the special by going to I'm going to try to access the entire show that way. I just learned of a site called: which has what are called "webisodes" and let you watch t.v. over the internet. Personally I just lost channel 45 (fox) to the digital transition!

"The Bachelor/2/16/09/abc"

Jason-"I wonder if Jillian is too strong to be in my life?"

J.-"Melissa reminds me of Deanna and of my ex"

Melissa to Jason-"Apparently I've really fallen for you"


(NZ is a place I've felt very drawn to since 94 when I was living in Australia)

e's comments on the hot tub



The Bungee Jumping

There is no way I'd do it, not even when I was in my 20's or 30's. My thoughts on Molly. I really understand why she is having a hard time "letting her guard down" especially under the conditions of the show.

Moderator-"Who will stay? Who will go home in tears?!"

Melissa said thatpeople don't surprise her very often (I can relate to that)

and that "I'm always the dumpee!"

I'm glad to hear Jason say that he can still fall in love without meeting the parents but I'm not happy to hear him say that "It can only go so far"

By 9:40 p.m. I was certain that he'd send Milly home. I'm very dissapointed that he sent Jillian home instead.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009




In an effort to help management offices with re-certifications hud gives us access to a website to print social security income for all subsidized residents; this site also shows employment income.

Remember, if you don't tell the office about all income sources, your lease can be terminated and you can be charged with fraud. Don't risk it!!!


I will put my personal comments in blue or purple.

Welcome our new maintenance man

Not a replacement for the thieves, just an addition to them ;(

Make sure you introduce yourself when you see him in the hall

I "love" how management attempts to legislate social skills in these newsletters



If you commit housing fraud

-you'll be evicted
--required to repay past assistnace
-fined up to 10k
-imprisoned up to 5 years
-prohibited from receiving future assistance
-subject to state and local government penalties

"I've always loved this "column"

I've been wanting to submit to this column for ages. I oughta buy a camera even if it's just a disposable. The column is entitled:


It appears in the Baltimore City Paper. I always enjoy it especially because of the view I hold of living in Baltimore.

Please check out the photo page 51 of the 2/4/09 issue.

It's a photo of someone's personal garbage can. The owner of the can spraypainted the following message onto it:


Saturday, February 14, 2009

An hour or so of calm in the midst of the storm/How to save 1.65 a day

I found a lovely place of indoor sanctuary recently. Have you been to "Ukazoo" Books in Towson? What a lovely bookstore. Independently owned, very large, many many leather chairs scattered throughout the store. They play only 70's music. And if you can't afford the 1.65 a day (or more) for coffee out, but love to have coffee out, the coffee is free.

About 45 min. after my arrival a family began setting up a table of food! Turned out that not only did I get my coffee for free, but there happened to be an art opening today as well, which meant that I got my brunch for free too!

When it was time to go "potty!" , I had to go to the clerk to get a key to the restroom. The key was attached to a preschoolers book for boys entitled: "It's potty time for boys!"

Next time you need to buy a book, or need a place of peace and sanctuary I recommend the independently owned:


It's in the Super Fresh shopping mall hiding in the back............................

(If you aren't a coffee drinker they have tea also)

"I'm no Valentine's Day "Sucker!"


Guess what we La Pew tenants got under our door today? A piece of paper with a lollipop/"sucker" taped to it! From management! The first thing I thought was: "Did they poison it?!"

Sucker, anyone?


Monday, February 9, 2009

"Nothing has changed at La Pew"

My belongings are still going missing, and I still feel very unsafe here. I'm still aggressive seeking housing elsewhere. Car hasn't been vandalized for more than 3 weeks, I've had to hide it in a different neighborhood and hope that my neighbors don't see me walking there.

Elana reviews grammy performances/"I want to thank god, and i want to thank my mother and..."

One thing that has always stood out to me about awards shows is that most celebrities upon receiving an award, thank god or thank jesus which is why i titled this the way i did.

I review the performances mainly as opposed to who received an award which doesn't mean much to me.

I did not enjoy the way Katie Perry sounded on "I kissed a girl and I liked it"

I didn't like the way Kanye west sounded either in his performances, but I did like the girl's voice who backed up Kanye West.

Justin Timberlake and A Green. Love J's voice. Loved Al Green's original song, but in this case I thought J. sounded better on A.'s song than A did!

I loved Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift together. Love their voices, personalities and showmanship.

Normally I like the Jonas brothers and I have always loved Stevie Wonder's Superstitious but I think the Jonas Brothers butchered Wonder's song last night.

The Emcee (like most Emcees) sounded like an idiot (Dwayne Johnson) when saying that he kissed K. Perry and she had to get out a restraining order against him. Not funny, just plain stupid. The cameras panned to Perry's face; she looked very surprised and displeased about being singled out in that way.

I liked Coldplay.

(Who I've seen live)

Madonna in 94 in Melbourne, Australia while I was living there.
Allison Krauss between 90 and 95 at the Tippecanoe Fiddler's Fest in Indiana.

Back to the grammys

You know how much I love a strong woman and as usual Queen Latifah shined as an introducer last night.

"Standing There" by McCartney. Vocals were so-so, instrumentals genius. No matter, I'm a huge Beetles fan as well as a huge fan of McCartney and Wings and used to have Wing's 45's in my record collection. ( I had to sell all of my 45's for food money a few years ago.)

Who was the blonde female country singer who sang: Why don't you stay....I'm so tired off being lonley" she had a gorgeous voice , pretty song. She also sang next with Adele who I thought was so so.

(You know I really need to make a you tube video of my singing one to three cover songs of different genres, so you can see what I'm made of)

On Radiohead

Loved the percussion, but did not like the style or voice of the main vocalist.

It was nice to hear Smokey Robinson and the rest do "i'll be there"

On Neal Diamond

I had that 45 as a little girl: "Sweet Caroline"

His voice still sounds good, but I did not the like the voices of his back up girls.

Diamond looks terrific! Talk about aging gracefully!

What did you think of the Grammys?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

"The Bachelor"

I've been watching every week, but I will probably lose my signal in a few weeks, as I don't have the $ to buy a converter box, and the wait list for the coupons has thousands of people on it. Congress has been talking about delaying the conversion, and I hope that's what happens.

Was hoping that Jason would give Stephanie a rose. I just love Stephanie. What an amazing woman, amazing human being. Ever since J and S had there day at the beach with the daughter, and then went to the theme park I was pretty sure they'd end up together. But S. took things beautifully when J. didn't give her a rose. She just said that if it's meant to be then it is, if not then oh well. And she also said that she knew J. didn't feel the spark, per se, and sometimes it just isn't there.

Not so sure about Naomi. I don't dislike her, but I don't think she's "the one"

You ever wonder what would happen if these bachelors (Or bachelorettes)_don't fall in love with any of the 25 provided women? (men) That doesn't seem to be an option with these shows, does it?

Who do you want J to end up with? (I know, ME!)